Holy SWIFT! If you thought you were prepared to watch Taylor Swift‘s iconic music video for “Look What You Made Me Do, the lead single of her 6th studio album Reputation, you definitely were not! There was so much in it, that it definitely requires watching the video on repeat!
WATCH TAYLOR SWIFT’S “LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO” MUSIC VIDEO
Now, that you’ve watched the video one more time, let’s discuss all the details!! Of course, the mastermind that is Taylor Swift, there is probably so much more we are missing, but here’s what we caught…
Let’s start from the beginning and work our way through ’til the end! Sit tight, there’s a lot to cover!
The video starts off in a graveyard, and if you listen to the song, you know why… the old Taylor Swift is dead. The tombstones line up to spell out TS, nice.
Then we get a close-up of the grave that reads “Here Lies TAYLOR SWIFT’S REPUTATION,” which is also the name of her new album, out November 10. The significance? The video addresses basically everything the media has said about Swift over the last decade.
We are then scared out of our minds as “Out Of The Woods” music video Taylor climbs out of the grave. The old Taylor that found herself apparently died but is now back from the dead to set the record straight.
For real though, she might really be the actress starring in our bad dreams.
We also catch a glimpse of another tombstone that reads “Nils Sjoberg” which is the pseudonym name she used to hide the fact she wrote ex-boyfriend, Calvin Harris‘ song “This Is What You Came For.” After trying to hide the fact, and getting stabbed in the back, Swift has probably learned her lesson and won’t be letting other people get the credit for her work.
So we start off with “Out Of The Woods” Taylor which was the last official music video made for the 1989 era. (“New Romantics” was a tour video). OOTW Taylor is burying ‘Met Gala’ Taylor which was the Taylor at the beginning of the 1989 era. We quickly flash to a “Blank Space” Taylor who is sitting in a bathtub full of pearls, as she explains that the media (“Blank Space” is a satirical song about the way the media perceives Taylor) just assumes that she “cries in a marble bathtub surrounded by pearls.” (Anyone who thinks this scene is mocking Kim Kardashian‘s robbery, is literally sick in the head and needs to educate themselves.)
It got pretty out of control there for a couple of years. Every article was like ‘taylor swift standing next to some guy– watch out guy!’. Every single article had these descriptions of my personality that were very different from my actual personality. My first reaction was ‘man that’s a bummer, this isn’t fun for me’. But my second reaction ended up being ‘hey, that’s actually an interesting character they’re writing about… like she jets sets around the world, collecting men and she can get any of them but she’s so clingy that they leave and then she cries in her marble bathtub surrounded by pearls.
You know what Taylor Swift is really doing in her bathtub? Plotting her next move. Another fun thing you might have missed? Taylor Swift clapping in the reflection! WHAT?!
You’ll also notice there is a single dollar in the bathtub. The significance? Taylor Swift’s sexual assault trial where she won a single dollar against her attacker, David Mueller.
Jury Finds David Mueller Guilty of Sexual Assault and Battery Towards Taylor Swift
We are then taking to Swift’s throne where she sits as Snake Queen. After all, it is the title they have given her, isn’t it? Swift has fully taken back the insults she has been receiving and throwing them right back, proving that she can take the heat and dish it out. Just like she said in her trial “I have an uncanny ability to elicit new criticism.”
Let’s not oversee the fact the snakes are literally pouring the tea! We bet it’s piping hot! We also can’t skip over the fact that “Et Tu Brute” is inscribed in her throne and the pillars in this snake room! It translates to “and you, Brutus?”, made famous in the play Julius Caesar, where it is uttered by the Roman dictator Julius Caesar to his friend Marcus Brutus at the moment of the former’s assassination.
So what’s the meaning here? Swift has been backstabbed by people she thought she was close to and friends with. This video means so much more than just a few people the song seems to take aim at. The video largely is directed at the media and the way the general public perceives Swift and targets her. So this reference can yes be related to Kanye, Kim and even Katy. But it can also refer to the friends who have left her side and shown their true colors.
We are next taken to a car crash! Where Swift is dressed as a super famous/rich pop star. Couldn’t help but think she looks a lot like Katy Perry here, but KP doesn’t have any GRAMMYs (we went there). She’s wearing a snake dress (coincidence? we think not) and a leopard fur which reminds us of Kim K.
What could this mean? Well, let’s discuss the whole scene. First, we have a yellow car that looks similar to the one KP drove in “Waking Up In Vegas” but it’s not the same brand. (Fun fact, Joseph Kahn also directed that video). We know Swift could get her hands on the same type of car if she wanted, which also throws out the theory that she’s driving a Maserati down a dead end street (like a lyric from her song “Red.”) Some thought it was justice for her album Red not winning a GRAMMY. Again, we have to think that if she wanted that specific imagery, she would have gotten the car. So maybe, it’s a combination of both things, plus more! What do we mean?
Well, in the scene, after crashing, there is a swarm of paparazzi taking photos of the crash, no one checking to see if the Pop Star Taylor is actually alright. Very symbolic of the fact that her personal life and well being is constantly invaded, but no one seems to mind. So this scene can’t really be boiled down to just one meaning, because as with this entire video, there is a lot going on in every second, again there’s still stuff we’re still probably missing!
We also notice that after the crash, she just sort of sits there and lets them take her picture. She has been accused of setting up paparrazi (played by her tour dancers!) photos! But that’s not all, what happens next? The car blows up and Pop Star Taylor walks away unscathed from the media, with her pet leopard wearing a 13 necklace and all (yeah, she did that!).
So while everyone takes their shots (literally and figuratively) Pop Star Taylor walks away from them, ready to live her best life (out of the media’s view).
Let’s jump now to the Birdcage scene where Swift is swinging. The cage is surrounded by body guards, which is much like her life. She’s confined and the amount of space she’s in is closing in on her. It’s not very big after all, and a bird does need to spread its wings.
This is the part of the song Swift sings “I don’t like your kingdom keys / They once belonged to me / You asked me for a place to sleep / Locked me out and threw a feast.”
She then has a lobster feast, joined by a rat. Symbolic much?
As Urban dictionary says a rat is the lowest form of a human being, a backstabber. Which is also the line in the song we have been guessing makes this song so much more than about a few people, but a broader range. Swift’s attention to the smallest details is really mind blowing. Some take this line of the song to mean that Swift was on top and someone took that away from her so she’s being petty…. but no, what she’s most likely saying here is that there are people whom she was once close with, she did things for and then like the Et Tu Brute suggests, backstabbed her. So now the keys that they both shared (keys could be symbolic of actually sharing a place together or that could be too literal and it could just be a greater imagery of sharing something with someone and them taking it away and keeping it for themselves), are no longer both of theirs, but the other’s. They turned on her (locked her out) and celebrated her downfall. Some would like to think that this line is a reference to KP and how she took her dancers and the feast is a reference to KP’s song “Bon Appétit.” Although that could work, we know that Taylor Swift is a lyrical genius and mastermind and the actual meaning behind her lyrics are sometimes too complex to even figure out. That and as much as KP fans are hung up on everything she now does being shade against KP, Swift isn’t targeting her in every move. Could she be included in this generalization? Absolutely, but again, we believe this song, like the video suggests, is about so much more than just those that appear to be obvious.
Next, we see Cat mask wearing Taylor, in a vault, while the video does flashbacks, to make it easier, we will combine all of the scenes of this kind and future kinds together (so as to not jump back and forth). Why cat masks? Well, there is a robbery going on, so masks are needed right? After all, Taylor Swift is a cat lady, right?
Poor cat-lady Taylor will never find love like her sweater suggests because she is just “Blinded For Love.” Isn’t that what the media says about her? There’s even an engagement ring looking box behind crazy-cat Taylor. How many articles have we seen where just a few weeks after dating, some unnamed source is talking about how Taylor says “He’s the one.” Well played Cat lady Taylor. Guess she just dodged a bullet or lost the love of her life (“I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” lyrics).
We also can’t help but notice there are a lot of 3’s appearing in this video. The bars are all in sets of 3, the fallen handcuffs off the briefcase, also look like a three. There are three watches in the bathroom scene, on the floor and later in the video even three cars that come in together. Could it be because it’s been 3 years since her last album and now she gets to share her side of things after so long?
The best part of this version of Taylor is that before leaving the vault, she is seen burning money. She was called money hungry and greedy after all, for trying to pull her music from streaming services like Spotify. The CEO asked, “Isn’t 6 million enough?” But Swift fought back against streaming services like Spotify and then Apple, for all the songwriters who needed a bigger and better compensation, because she has a voice that can make an impact.”
It gets even better, as she walks out of the vault and we see “Stream.co” flashing behind her. Yes, she just robbed a streaming service. Again, Swift is making fun of all the headlines about herself. No one makes fun of Taylor Swift, like Taylor Swift makes fun of Taylor Swift!
We flash to a scene of Biker Taylor. Which reminds us of the look from one of her “Bad Blood” music video characters, and the fact there were also motor bikes in that video.
Some have been confused by this scene, thinking it could possibly be related to the lawsuit she got against Lucky 13 which is a clothing/biker company. While that could be a correlation, it could also be related to the “edgy look” articles posted about her whenever she steps out in something that isn’t a sundress. Satire at it’s greatest. Of course, again, it could also have a scene from Bad Blood Taylor, because after all, we still got some don’t we?
Next, we come across Cult Leader Taylor and her perfect Squad Army she has built. With headlines like “Taylor Swift’s Squad Had Become A Cult” and “Lorde Says Taylor Swift’s Squad Isn’t Some “Secret Cult” it makes sense!
Also, did you notice her cat on the screens? That also later change to “Squad U”? Olivia Benson deserves better!
The media and regular folk have said how Taylor Swift’s “Squad” are all just these perfect models who have to do whatever she says. Once again, taking back the narrative. Here she is mocking the media, mocking her.
Later, we flash to a scene of Cult Taylor sourrounded by her Squad all laying down beside her with body parts falling off (they’re mannequins after all). We think this symbolizes how the media was pitting her friends against her and saying how the “Squad Was Falling Apart.”
Next, we step into another iconic part of the video where Sexy Taylor busts through the door and all 8 men stop whatever they are doing and jump to her beck and call. How cute is Todrick running in those heels? Could the number of men symbolize the number of high profile exes Swift has had over the last decade? Genius.
It seems pretty convincing, the moment she snaps her fingers and they all take off their coats to reveal I <3 TS Crop Tops. The irony? Swift got dragged last summer when her then boyfriend Tom Hiddleston was seen wearing an I <3 TS tank top while out at the beach (he’s gotta protect that English skin!). Guess Taylor has all these men brainwashed too!
Let’s take a moment to appreciate these dance moves. Girl has been working it out!!!
We also see Reputation Taylor cutting the wings off the plane. We think she is sending a direct message to fans and media who track her plane. The girl is just trying to live! Stop giving out her location!!
Now we come to the climax of the video. Reputation Taylor is now standing on top of all the old versions of herself. They all try to climb their way to the top, but get knocked down, because the old Taylor is dead. RIP old Taylors.
This is also the part of the song where she starts singing “I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me, I’ll be the actress starring in your bad dreams.” If we dig deeper we might find that every old version of Taylor is symbolic of the fact that she has changed and evolved over the years. That perhaps, maybe she was trying to be who people thought she should be, and each era she got a little more to being her true self. Either way, she is kicking the old versions of herself and her old reputations to the curb and starting new, bold and fierce with give no f*cks Taylor.
So often as we get older we look back at younger versions of ourselves and can’t help but think, ‘wow, I can’t believe I used to be that naive or this or that.’ They no longer ‘rep’resent who we are, but they are always a part of who shaped us into who we became. We have to go through all of those phases in our life, the good, the bad and the ugly to make us who we are.
We then are taken to the end of the video where we see 15 different versions of Swift. There are also 15 songs on Swift’s next album Reputation. We are pretty pumped for the Reputation album and can’t wait to analyze all of those songs and see what kind of sound she puts out!!
Here’s a post in GIF form that covers the ending of the video, in which Swift mocks herself, the way the media has mocked her. With her shocked/surprised face after she won so many awards. When Kanye referred to her as “that Bitch” in his song “Famous” which she never okayed. The fact she can’t possibly be as nice as she makes herself and clearly it’s an act. How she always plays the victim and never takes responsibility for her role in things (clearly people have never listened to “Back To December.” She then starts collecting receipts to edit later, maybe like how Kim K recorded her conversation and edited it to show it how she wanted? Receipts is also a good word since it’s the image KP used on her song “Swish Swish” and also put in the lyrics “Your game is tired / You should retire / You’re ’bout cute as / An old coupon expired / And karma’s not a liar / She keeps receipts.” Lastly, we have Fearless Era Swift in the outfit where Kanye stormed the stage during her acceptance speech, saying “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative.” (Which Swift wrote in a notepad she posted to social media after the song’s release. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one I never asked to be a part of.” ) Then all of the other Taylor’s shout simultaneously “Shut Up!” How many times have we heard people saying that? How she just needs to stop talking about certain things, or bringing them up and playing the victim.
What was your favorite part of the video? A song that has broken nearly every record since its release! The video also broke the record for most VEVO views (previous record was 27.7 million) and most youtube views in a day with over 42 million views (previous record was 38.4 million). “Look What You Made Me Do” Is also the first song to ever have all 187 pop radio adds! It broke the mediabase records by having the entire panel! AMAZING! It broke the Spotify record, it was the fastest single to go #1 by a female artist, you name it, “Look What You Made Me Do” broke it!
Take a look at some of the headlines over scenes from the video!
There were so many other little details in the video that we just couldn’t find the room to discuss! It’s like playing where’s waldo? Can you spot all the 13s? Or the cats? There’s even one running at the end, past the line of Taylors. The Junior Jewels shirt with a lot of her friends names on it! (and no, we don’t think anyone missing means they aren’t close, as a lot of names were absent, there could have been some on the back that weren’t seen as well.” Did you see the back of the plane say TS6? (as it has been referred to for the last few years since it was expected but yet untitled!) Or the 13 that flashed near the front of the plane? How Zombie Taylor’s arm falls off? How Shake it off Ballerina Taylor falls like she does in the music video?
WOW There’s so much more to talk about and this is just one of 15 songs. Get ready Taylornation, we’re in for a ride!
Excellent analysis!! Also in the beginning there’s a tombstone that reads Joseph Kahn Film. I can’t stop watching this video, it is pure genius and so tongue in cheek. Thanks for breaking it down so well. Go Taylor!!
Yes I saw that but I don’t think it means anything other than the fact she has been including him in other videos like bad blood where it says a Joseph Kahn film. If it just said Joseph Kahn then I would read more into it but I think it was just a clever way to put his credit in there without being overly obvious
Oh I agree. It also occurred to me that her checking the list twice, may be a reference to Santa, who checked his list twice to see who was naughty and nice. So clever.
Oh I don’t know if I talked about that in this article but I talked about it in a video I made. I think it means how it’s like that saying, you fool me once shame on you, you fool me twice shame on me. Like people back stabbed her and she gave them another chance but then it happened again so now she’s learned.
Oh yes, that could be it too. Just thought of the lyrics from “Santa Claus is coming to town”…”he’s making a list, and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty & nice”